Health officials in Pinellas County, Florida are reporting a confirmed, locally acquired measles case in an unvaccinated child.
Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH-Pinellas) continues to investigate the source of the infection.
“We are continuing to investigate, but we would like families to know that their children could be exposed to diseases like measles anywhere and—unless they’re protected with vaccination—they are risking potentially serious health effects for their child,” said DOH-Pinellas Director Dr. Ulyee Choe, an infectious disease specialist. “We encourage all parents to fully vaccinate their children to protect them from diseases like measles.”
Prior to this case, a total of four Florida residents and three visitors with measles have spent time in Florida while infectious.
Measles is a virus that is easily spread by air droplets when infected persons breathe, cough, or sneeze. The first symptoms are a high fever that may spike to 105°F, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. These symptoms are followed by a blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the feet. Measles is a potentially severe disease, especially young children and persons with compromised immune systems. Complications can include pneumonia, encephalitis and death.
The best way to protect yourself and those you love against measles is to get vaccinated. Two doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine are recommended routinely for children, with the first dose at age 12 through 15 months and the second dose at ages four through six years. Adults should be vaccinated with at least one dose of MMR vaccine, with a second dose recommended for those at higher risk such as international travelers and health care workers.
The number of reported measles cases in Florida residents has remained at less than 10 cases per year since 2010.
In 2017, all three reported measles cases were exposed to the measles virus outside of Florida.